Vintage of the Week: Rolex Explorer Reference 5500
As numerous extravagance watch aficionados will advise you, a player in the fun (or challenge) of gathering vintage Rolex watches is finding strange events in their files. While the present Rolex assortments are obviously isolated, each with their own extraordinary offering focuses and a lot of showcasing materials to clarify the intricate details, it wasn’t that obvious fifty or more years prior. A valid example is the Rolex ref. 5500. Albeit the ref. 5500 is in fact an Air-King, Rolex additionally at the same time offered the ref. 5500 with an Explorer dial for about 10 years. In this way, today we investigate the Explorer ref. 5500 to give some understanding on this baffling vintage Rolex watch.
The Rolex Air-King 5500 share a couple of attributes with the Explorer 5500.
An Air-King in Disguise?
Before we get to the Explorer ref. 5500, we should dive into the subtleties of the Air-King ref. 5500 for some context.
In 1957, Rolex delivered the hardened steel Air-King ref. 5500 with a 34mm case and time-just usefulness. Their spotless and direct dials were unmistakably set apart with the “Air-King” name under the Rolex logo at 12 o’clock. On the base piece of the dial, the Air-King ref. 5500 likewise included either a “Accuracy” or a “SUPER PRECISION” mark contingent upon the type it ran on. The “Accuracy” text implies Caliber 1520 inside the case while “SUPER PRECISION” demonstrates the presence of Caliber 1530.
An Explorer 5500 Wristwatch is an uncommon watch to have.
As a dearest exemplary ordinary extravagance watch, the Air-King ref. 5500 appreciated a creation run of more than three decades.
What is the Explorer Ref. 5500?
In the last part of the 1950s, Rolex offered a variant of the Air-King ref. 5500 with an Explorer dial. Accordingly, this specific model is frequently alluded to as the Explorer ref. 5500 notwithstanding the Air-King case. In this manner, the Explorer ref. 5500 is likewise 34mm in size. This is recognizably more modest than the customary 36mm size of the Explorer ref. 6610 and the Explorer ref. 1016 watches of the equivalent era.
The face of the Explorer ref. 5500 highlights the ordinary dark plated dial, the 3, 6, and 9 Arabic numerals, notwithstanding, the stick lists and the rearranged triangle. This time, under the Rolex logo, the “EXPLORER” name is unmistakably in plain view. There are likewise the Mercedes-style hands — normal for the Explorer assortment, not the Air-King model—just as the “candy” seconds hand. The T<25 marking under six o’clock demonstrates that the dial utilizes tritium for luminescence.
Similar to the Air-King, there are both Precision and Super Precision releases of the Explorer ref. 5500. There are additionally some super uncommon models with a line under the “SUPER PRECISION” text. Moreover, there are a few examples where the dial incorporates a twofold T<25 marking flanking the “SWISS” label.
Purchasing a Rolex Explorer Ref 5500
Vintage 5500 Explorer
In short, with an end goal to draw in some more youthful clients, Rolex showed a little test to equipping the body of the Air-King ref. 5500 with the dial of the Explorer. Since this is an irregular vintage Rolex watch with a couple of dial varieties accessible, it’s surely an intriguing piece to research, source, and add to any watch assortment. Indeed, in 2016, Philips sold an Explorer ref. 5500 watch with the underlined “SUPER PRECISION” and twofold “T<25” for an incredible CHF 28,750 — triple its pre-deal estimate.
So in case you’re on the lookout for vintage Rolex watches that are a little strange, at that point the Explorer ref. 5500 may very well be for you.